Puerto Rico Marine Corps Veteran Overcomes Homelessness

Veterans Support & Mental Health Care

A Puerto Rican veteran rebuilds his life after facing homelessness.

Glomani Bravo (right) and an Endeavors team member at an event in Puerto Rico.

Why do people decide to join the military? There are almost as many answers to that question as people serving in uniform: family legacy, service to one’s country, debt-free education, skills training, sharp uniforms, adventure, a paycheck…and many more.

For Glomani Bravo, the reasons were a blend of all these. At seventeen, two pivotal events shaped his path: the fall of the Twin Towers in his hometown of New York City and the realization that he didn’t have to accept the domestic violence he’d endured for years.

From Abuse Survivor to Expert Marksman

As a child, Glomani watched the rushing floods of Hurricane Hugo wash his mother’s body away as she desperately tried to save a drowning neighbor. At just five years old, Glomani found himself orphaned and shipped off from his birthplace in Puerto Rico to New York to live with his aunt — a woman he’d never known, and who ultimately would cause him much pain. After a beautiful childhood in Puerto Rico, Glomani grew up wandering the streets of New York City, sleeping under subway bridges to escape his aunt’s alcohol-induced beatings, and her even more violent attempts on his life.

When the tragedy of 9/11 struck, Glomani saw a way out. The military promised not just an escape from his abusive home but also a chance to honor his brother (a Marine) and serve his country. 

Imagine it: Going to war to escape the violence in your home.

Glomani was not alone in navigating this Catch-22. In fact, in a 2010 telephone survey conducted by the CDC, “43% [men] reported emotional abuse, 34% said alcohol was abused at home, 27% were exposed to domestic violence, 12% had a household member who was incarcerated, and 11% had been touched sexually.”

Joining the Marines became his salvation, transforming him from a terrified teenager into a respected marksman and instructor at the Marksmanship School. He had guaranteed housing, food, and income. He had friends, a mission, a purpose.

Transitioning to Civilian Life After Military Service

After four years of active duty and two deployments to combat zones in Iraq, Glomani transitioned to civilian life with hope. He pursued higher education, earning degrees in Construction Management and Business Administration. His career flourished as he took on roles like Deputy Chief of Staff for the New York City Council and Senior Advisor for Strategic Operations for the Kings County Attorney’s Office.

However, the shadows of his past lingered. Glomani struggled with alcohol and substance abuse, the residual scars of his tumultuous upbringing, and the stresses of combat. His life spiraled into a cycle of mental health challenges, homelessness, and joblessness.

Determined to reclaim his life, Glomani fought his demons and achieved sobriety. He moved to Puerto Rico to be near family, but the journey was far from over. Despite years of sobriety, he faced the harsh reality of finding stable employment and housing in a place with limited veteran services.

The twelve months following separation from active duty can be the most difficult and dangerous for veterans. This period is known as the “transition” to civilian life, and it’s when veterans are statistically most vulnerable to unemployment, housing instability, social isolation, and suicidal thoughts and behavior. (The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that veteran homelessness across the United States increased by 7% from 2022 to 2023.) In Puerto Rico, these risk factors are sadly compounded by the island’s lack of veteran resources compared to stateside resources. 

Like too many of his compatriots, Glomani found himself without anywhere to turn.

Finding Support: Endeavors and the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program

Fortunately, Glomani’s luck was about to change. At a veteran’s hiking event hosted by the Irreverent Warriors at Castillo El Morro, Glomani met an Endeavors representative who told him about the Endeavors’ Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program dedicated to helping veterans like him. The program works to restore the quality of life and dignity of service members through housing, employment, and peer support services. 

With the help of a dedicated Case Manager, Glomani began to rebuild his life. Glomani received a Per Diem Grant from an Endeavors partner and a spot at Casa Del Peregrino, a veteran-focused shelter in Puerto Rico. As a national service organization helping individuals and families beat homelessness since 1969, Endeavors employs the Housing-First Model. At its core, the model is this: Provide a safe, stable place to live…then address the underlying causes of homelessness.

Once he was safely and stably housed, Endeavors helped Glomani tackle his key challenges: unemployment and lack of transportation. They provided job training, new clothes, a haircut stipend, and gas money for job interviews. Armed with these resources, Glomani landed a job as a Program Manager at LIFT, a national manufacturing innovations institute. His qualifications and experience shone through, proving he only needed a chance to succeed.

A New Beginning: Career Success and Stability in Puerto Rico

Glomani signed a lease for a new apartment one month after starting his new job, leaving shelter life behind. Today, Glomani thrives in his job and can truly call Puerto Rico “home.” His story is a powerful testament to resilience and the possibility of a bright future, even in the darkest circumstances.

About Endeavors

Endeavors is a national service organization that has been assisting vulnerable populations since 1969. Endeavors offers an array of services and programs supporting children, families, migrants, Veterans and those struggling with mental illness, disabilities, disasters or emergencies. Endeavors serves people in crisis with personalized services. For more information, visit endeavors.org.

About the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program

Endeavors’ Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) seeks to restore the dignity of unhoused Veterans in Puerto Rico through rapid re-housing and job placement. Endeavors Case Managers connect qualifying Veterans with long-term competitive employment and permanent housing to help beat the cycle of homelessness. For more information, visit endeavors.org/puerto-rico-homeless-veteran-reintegration/

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